Markieff Morris was the first Jayhawk selected last night in a move that came as a bit of a surprise as his twin Marcus was widely considered the better prospect. Marcus was eventually picked immediately following Markeiff by the Houston Rockets. Getting back to the first Jayhawk selected, what's the buzz in Pheonix on the pick?
After an initial reaction that was a little less than complimentary, SBNation Arizona weighed in with some thoughts from the Suns front office.
The Suns executive team were all on the same page when it came to drafting Markieff Morris. Instead of picking up another SF or a tweener, they added a solid power forward who can come off the bench, play good defense, and grab some rebounds. Phoenix isn't trying to reinvent the wheel in the weakest draft in recent history.
Position of need in Phoenix? Seems to be the case. Based on their projection Markieff should fit in nicely as a rebounding power forward that can provide an inside presence off the bench for the Suns which is something they just don't have.
The Suns didn't have a power forward, period. Channing Frye is a small forward masquerading as a center masquerading as a power forward. While Frye should still get the majority of the minutes in the regular season, a combo of Robin Lopez and Markieff Morris is appealing if only for the fact that Hakim Warrick could play backup small forward now.
Suns GM Lance Blanks echos that sentiment and views Markieff as a player that can provide toughness and impact the Suns team immediately.
"It's extremely important to get a player like Markieff."
"I love his intangibles. He's tough. We have a team that is resilient but he offers us a mental and physical toughness that's almost impossible to quantify with numbers.""I certainly hope he can come in. I think he can come in and impact the roster."
And for Kansas fans, the following set of quotes won't surprise many. Markieff came into Kansas raw and in need of some polishing. It wasn't easy getting there, but the work ethic that Marcus and Markieff put in has been pointed to by the staff on multiple occasions. That same attitude and toughness that the Suns pointed to is exactly what Markieff looks forward to bringing to the table.
"Being that guy down in the trenches being able to do anything for the team. I've always been that guy. Being able to play with Steve (Nash) on pick and rolls and just trying to soak in all that those veteran things they got there with Steve and Grant (Hill), trying to be a professional and being the best player I can be for the team."
"Philly guys have a different toughness from anybody you've probably ever met. That's what I hang my hat on. I'm a tough guy. I'm ready to battle with anybody."
"A lot of guys say I don't have an upside but we're going to see. I'm ready to put the work in and be the best possible."
The Suns are coming off a bit of a disappointing season but they still have some strong veterans in place. Markieff doesn't seem to have ignited a fire under the fanbase at this point, but with Steve Nash and Grant Hill approaching the end of their careers this is a team that will soon be searching for an identity. Where Markieff fits remains to be seen, but he certainly brings a different mentality than most players currently rounding out the Suns roster.